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Elina Svitolina, the Ukrainian tennis star refuses to play against Russian and Belarusian Opponents

Elina Svitolina will refuse to play Russian or Belarusian players unless tennis' governing bodies have them compete as neutral athletes.

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Pritha Ghosh
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In the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian tennis sensation Elina Svitolina will avoid playing Russian or Belarusian players until tennis' governing organisations allow them to compete as neutral athletes. The world number 15 stated that she will donate her entire reward prize to the Ukrainian military and humanitarian initiatives. However, In the first round of the Monterrey Open, she has been drawn with Anastasia Potapova of Russia.

Elina Svitolina refuses to play against Russian and Belarusian Opponents | Sportzpoint.com

Source: USA Today

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Elina Svitolina expressed via Twitter that she will not compete in that match or any others involving players from Russia or Belarus. In her words, "I believe the current situation requires a clear position from our organisations: ATP, WTA and ITF. As such, we Ukrainian players requested ATP, WTA and ITF to follow the recommendations of the IOC to accept Russian or Belarusian nationals only as neutral athletes. Without displaying any national symbols, colours, flags or anthems."

"Accordingly, I want to announce that I will not play tomorrow in Monterrey. Nor any other match against Russian or Belarusian tennis players. Until our organisations take this necessary decision," the world No. 15 added.

Elina Svitolina refuses to play against Russian and Belarusian Opponents | Sportzpoint.com

Source: NDTV Sports

However, she praised Russian players like Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for speaking out against the war.

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"I do not blame any of the Russian athletes. They are not responsible for the invasion of our motherland. Moreover, I wish to pay tribute to all the players, especially Russians and Belarusians, who bravely stated their position against the war. Their support is essential," She concluded.

Elina Svitolina